When I was younger, I didn’t see my grandfather as anything but a hero. The way that he portrayed stories about his life spoke magnificent wonders about who he really was and how much he loved his job and the line of work he had chosen to get into. That’s why it’s a shame to announce, then, that he died but a year ago and I never had a chance to show him what I could become and how much I could love my life if I followed his advice and did something I loved.
My grandfather was a psychologist. When he passed, my grandmother came to me with a box of folders in her hands, trembling with sadness, and telling me that he would have wanted me to have them. They were old reports from when he was still in the field and, though the significance of it was sweet, I really had no interest. I wanted to remember my grandfather as he was and take those to my grave (or, rather, give them to my children to enjoy in days to come.) That’s not to say I didn’t get curious, because I did. I read snippets here and there but they all made it back inside the box at the end of the day, nothing learned, nothing new.
On the anniversary of my grandfather’s death, I was cleaning my closet and the box fell from the top shelf, spilling all over my bedroom floor. One clean notebook fell open, splayed upon my floor, to a page I had never read before. The journal was empty aside from that one document about a patient of his that he had seen and a story to be told. He had transcribed the entire meeting onto those pages and I will share it here. I take it as a sign, something he wanted me to see. Something he never understood that followed him to his grave.
When they found Arthur Tremhold, he was sobbing wildly beside his delivery van, covered in blood. He was questioned profusely and kept in captivity for some time, where he was then transferred out of his holding cell and put directly in my care for a time period of one day. In one day’s time, I feel like Arthur and I made many revelations. I am unsure of what Arthur’s status will be in the future, but he was a highly likable guy once we got through our opening statements and he opened up to me further. Here I have transcribed the best part of our conversation and what we arrived on from the session.
M: So, what you’re telling me is that you had a very close family relationship before the event took place?
A: Oh, yes, yes, of course. [sobbing] My family meant the world to me, and still means the world to me. We, uh… we decided that we were going to pack up and make my retirement trip a good one. It was a delivery from Atlanta to Augusta for a client, which is a far weekend trip. You know, even for me. And they pride me on being one of their best.
M: Tell me a little bit about your son and daughter.
A: Oh, they’re my pride! Th-they meant everything to me. Stuart was a little over a year old and Maisy was almost six. My wife and I planned Maisy but Stuart was a surprise. [laughs] Yeah, he was a surprise all right. Little devil, he was. Had you run after him constantly just because he wanted Daddy’s attention.
M: So, you wanted to take a family vacation, and you just so happened to choose a road trip with your family, doing… erm, what along the way? How were you planning on keeping the little ones entertained with a road trip?
A: Well, we were stopping to see sights along the way, you see. We packed enough food for the little ones and made it a weekend adventure. Along the way, we stopped at a fair… to see their great aunt Gertrude… stopped at one of the biggest bookstores. Maisy loved to read books. She got a kick out of that. Anyway, I guess I’m saying that my kids and I always had a good time. We made our own fun.
M: And what about your wife? [flips through papers] Umm.. Vera?
A: Oh, Vera was always wonderful. From the moment I met her in high school, I knew we would be together forever. Body and mind. Heart and soul. Hah, she had quite the sense of humor. And I knew for how low-stress she was, the road trip would be fun even if we had the kids with and they woke up in a bad mood or something. Vera never got upset. She handled it.
M: Well, I kind of need to know more about what happened on the road trip. Was Vera having fun? Everything going smoothly?
A: Of course! We headed out on a Friday morning, because Vera has off work on Fridays. Figured Maisy would enjoy a day off from school. Vera was singing along to 70s music on the radio and I was laughing away at her awful impressions. Stuart slept nearly the entire morning and Maisy was playing games on her tablet. You know, those… technological things. I could never figure them out. Lo and behold, the sky was dark, looking like it was about to rain. I mentioned my concerns to Vera but she just brushed it off and said we would be fine. Claimed she had watched the news the night before and that it wasn’t supposed to give anything. I was skeptical, to say the least.
M: And what happened? Did the weather stay fine?
A: Oh no, that’s where the descent happens.
M: The descent?
A: That’s when things went… bad.